Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vancian Spellcasting

The only Jack Vance book I ever read was fascinating. It was all about language, and how the very words you speak shape your thoughts and experience. The premise of the book was that whole worlds could be redesigned with linguistic overrides and manipulation.

The Languages of the Pao.

The basic idea is so clear and obvious and correct... I doubt I'll ever stop thinking about it. It's one of those concepts that shifts your perspective into a slightly different place. The words you know, and the structure of how they flow together, affects your future and potential just as clearly and impeccably as your genetic heritage. The way you learn to speak is the way you learn to think.

Interestingly enough, Vance himself has an unrivaled vocabulary. Click click click...

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